“What we heard today is that the so-called Iraq surge will last another year despite originally being described as a temporary measure to give the Iraqis time to forge a political solution to stabilize their country.
“If we are to achieve real progress in Iraq we need a diplomatic surge and we need to convince the Iraqis that they need to step up and take control of their own country.
“That the troop surge is ending in a year is no surprise since our commanders have already told us that the military cannot sustain the surge past that point. What is surprising is that today’s testimony brought essentially more of the same.
“The troop surge has not succeeded in enabling the Iraqis to make political progress to stabilize their country and we need a new course.
“General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have difficult tasks in executing the Bush policy in Iraq. Unfortunately, in the hearing today I heard an intention to stay the course. We need to get our Iraq policy right. Pennsylvania has lost 175 troops in Iraq and more than a thousand have been injured. These casualties show the toll that our Iraq policy has taken on families in Pennsylvania and across the United States.
“My Republican colleagues have pointed to today’s testimony and accompanying report as a key event in determining our next steps in Iraq. I hope that after hearing the testimony my colleagues will agree that we heard essentially the same optimistic outlook that we have heard for years and more senators will join in the effort to change the Bush policy in Iraq.
“I asked General Petraeus why the number of Iraqi troops at level one readiness decreased in the last year from ten battalions to six. That we are moving backwards in the preparedness of the Iraqis to take over the fight is a troubling sign in an area where progress is desperately needed.”